In this article, we will explore what the ego mind is and how it is formed. We will list off several signs that indicate your ego mind has taken control and share the negative impacts of allowing it to dominate your life. Additionally, we will investigate why the ego mind creates resistance during breathwork, and how it can prevent you from healing and achieving personal growth. We will also offer tips for managing the egos resistance in breathwork. And we will share a simple daily ‘Presence Exercise’ that will help you regain control over your ego, and enable you to establish a greater sense of inner-authority, tranquility, connection, and harmony in your life.
What is the Ego Mind?
The ego mind is a term used to describe the interplay between the conscious self (ego) and the various mental processes that make up the mind. It signifies how a person’s self-awareness, self-identity, and conscious decision-making interact with their thoughts, emotions, and other mental phenomena. It is the part of the mind that is responsible for a person’s sense of self-importance, self-preservation, and self-aggrandizement.
How is the Ego Mind Formed?
The ego mind is formed in early childhood, as we learn to identify ourselves with our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It is also influenced by our culture and upbringing, as we internalize the values and beliefs of the people around us. The ego mind can be a useful tool when it is kept in balance – it can help us to navigate the world and to achieve our goals. However, if we allow it to dominate our lives, it can become highly destructive.
What Happens When the Ego Mind Dominates?
If we allow the ego mind to dominate, it can become a source of great suffering. It can lead to strained relationships, stunted personal growth, social isolation as others are pushed away by ego-driven behavior, increased stress and anxiety from the fear of failure or rejection, and in extreme forms, the potential development of narcissistic traits. It can also lead to ineffective leadership, inauthenticity, shallow relationships based on personal gain, and a distorted perception of reality. Balancing the ego with humility and self-awareness is crucial to mitigate these negative effects.
Signs That Your Ego-Mind May Be Dominating Your Life:
- Negative Self-Talk: You engage in negative self-talk and excessive self-criticism, often berating yourself for perceived failures or shortcomings.
- Perfectionism: You set impossibly high standards for yourself (or others), and are never satisfied with your achievements, leading to chronic stress and dissatisfaction.
- Difficulty in Relationships: You struggle to maintain healthy relationships because your ego-driven behaviors can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings with others.
- Self-Centeredness: You frequently prioritize your own needs, desires, and interests above those of others, often without considering the impact on others.
- Defensiveness: You are quick to become defensive or react strongly when your self-image is challenged, even if the criticism is constructive or well-intentioned.
- Need for Validation: You seek validation and approval from others, relying on external sources to bolster your self-esteem and self-worth.
- Competitive Nature: You view life as a competition and feel compelled to constantly compare yourself to others, or feel the need to “prove yourself”.
- Resistance to Change: You resist change, especially if it challenges your established self-concept or ego identity. Conversely, you may strive for change but find you always end up back where you started (thanks to your ego causing self-sabotage).
- Inflexibility: You have a rigid and inflexible mindset, and struggle to consider alternative viewpoints or adapt to new situations. You may also find it hard to compromise.
- Emotional Turmoil: Your emotions are often intense and volatile, and you may struggle with anger, jealousy, or resentment when things don’t go your way.
If you identify with two or more of these signs, your ego may be in the driver’s seat of your life. This does not make you bad, the ego is a powerful force that takes over in most of us if we don’t actively keep it in check. Fortunately with breathwork and the ‘Presence Exercise’ below, you can take back your power and start living a more conscious, purposeful, and fulfilling life.
The Connection Between the Ego Mind & Resistance in Breathwork
The ego mind dislikes breathwork and it tries to get us to avoid it. In fact, it is the ego that is responsible for the resistance many of us encounter just before and during a breathwork session. It’s the part of us that whispers thoughts like, “This feels uncomfortable,” “This isn’t going to work,” “I shouldn’t proceed with the session due to XYZ,” “Deep breathing is too difficult, let’s skip it,” or “This is scary – stop!” These thoughts collectively represent ‘resistance’, and they originate from the ego mind.
One reason the ego mind has no interest in the breath is because it loves things that it will be praised and recognized for and breathing is a natural process that is not typically applauded. The ego mind cannot proudly say – “See how well I breathe!”. Nobody will tell you – “You are amazing! You will become famous because you breathe so well!”. Breathing is so natural that the ego cannot say it is the “doer” so it has no interest in the breath. This is why if you can stay focused on the breath for long enough, the ego will lose interest (this is typically the exact moment when you stop feeling resistance and go deep into process).
Another reason the ego generates resistance towards breathwork is because of its profound fear of change. It actively opposes change, which can significantly impede our journey toward healing and personal growth. It’s not out of malice, but rather because the ego genuinely believes that maintaining the status quo is the only way to ensure our safety and protection. It fails to recognize that certain beliefs, behaviors, and ‘old stories’ are no longer serving us and that we would benefit greatly from working through and releasing them.
How to Deal with the Resistance of the Ego Mind in Breathwork
If your ego mind is creating resistance during the session, you have one of two choices. First, you can refocus your attention on the breath, making sure to follow the technique that you started with for several minutes (deep, diaphragmatic breathing through the mouth, a little faster than normal, with no gaps or pauses). This alone will generally re-quiet the ego mind.
Alternatively, look for what emotion is being brought up when your ego mind thoughts come back in. It may be frustration, or anger, or disappointment. Amplify that emotion, visualize it spreading throughout your body, getting bigger and bigger, and make whatever loud sound your body wants to make for a period of time. This will almost always catapult you back deeply into your process.
How to Take Back Your Power and Keep Your Ego Mind in Check
If you find yourself caught up in the ego mind, it is important to remember that it is only one part of your mind. You do not have to identify with your ego’s thoughts and feelings. Instead, you can learn to observe them without judgment and to choose to respond in a way that is aligned with your values and goals. You can even consider acknowledging the ego’s thoughts by responding with something like, “Thank you for sharing your perspective, but that doesn’t align with my truth”. Or in the case of breathwork, “Thank you but we’re going to proceed with this breathwork anyway.”
A Daily Presence Practice for Transcending the Ego Mind
Throughout your day, if you find your ego mind taking over, simply redirect your focus to your breath. Observe it without trying to control it and take a moment to appreciate the incredible intelligence of your body, which manages your breath effortlessly day and night without requiring conscious intervention. As you maintain your attention on your breath, you’ll notice the grip of your ego mind weakening. From this point, expand your sense of gratitude to encompass all of existence for gifting you with this remarkable body, tirelessly working to keep you alive and healthy.
Take a moment to apologize to your body for not always treating it as well as it deserves. Also acknowledge any lapses such as allowing your ego mind to trigger negative emotions that release harmful chemicals, not engaging in enough physical activity, or consuming excessive sugar. By consistently practicing this, you not only honor your magnificent body as it deserves, but you also gradually shift toward a more present and grateful way of living, replacing stress and tension with gratitude and harmony.
Take Back the Reign’s from Your Ego Mind with a Free Month of Neurodynamic Breathwork Online
We offer 2-hour online breathwork workshops several times throughout the week so that people can take a deep dive into their inner healing with a consistent practice. If you would like to join one of our transformational sessions, and partake in faster, deeper breathing to quiet the ego mind, connect to your “Inner Guidance”, and cultivate lasting positive change, we invite you to register for free!
After your first free session, you will receive an email with access to a whole month of free online facilitated breathwork, up to 24 live sessions, which will allow you to continue your journey with the breath and sow the seeds for incredible, lasting change.
Click here to find out more about our online breathwork process.